TED Conversations

Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED


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For people who have a hard time answering the question: "Where are you from?"

In Pico Iyer's talk from TEDGlobal 2013, he looks at the complex nature of the question: "Where are you from?" Because while his family originally comes from India, Iyer himself grew up in the United Kingdom. He spent the next 48 years living in the United States. Meanwhile, his heart resides in Japan. He calls these the "pieces of a stained glass self."

As he notes, in our increasingly global world, it's not uncommon to be a half-Korean, half-German woman in love with Paris or a half-Thai, half-French man in Canada.

And so we're curious: what are the pieces of YOUR stained glass whole? Share here and you may see your answers on the TED Blog soon.

I'll share first: I am a half-Italian, half-Polish Jewish-Christian with a Russian last name, who grew up in the Southern United States and now calls herself a New Yorker.

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    Jul 18 2013: Nice question and trend of comments.
    Fortunately this is a community with mostly people with a good sense and education. Therefor the answers and reflections you got so far.

    I lived abroad and when asked I proudly answered "Portugal", where from? "South, right near the corner of Europe". Was I born there? No.
    I was born in Lisbon but grew up in the south, my mother's family (the one I am emotional closest to) belongs to the oldest known families in that town and I always felt that feeling of belonging. Is this the main reason I answer I am from there? No.
    I say it because there I understand the Nature... the wind traits, the ocean currents and waves, the sun cycle all year around, I understand the atmosphere and its micro-climate, I know the food and water sources, the different lands and its compositions, I know the architecture and building, I know the people and its diversity.

    About heritage well I think it says something but little to influence my answer to "where are you from?"
    For me would be a mess... my father is from Mozambique and part of his family from Mozambique other with origins back to Norwegians vikings, mother raised in Angola but her family is from South Portugal with origins in Mediterranean pirates..
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      Jul 18 2013: Dear João,
      Very nice to meet you on TED again....I have always appreciated your insightful comments:>)

      I feel like I am from everywhere and nowhere...now here! Born of mostly Irish decent, with a little bit of German and French in the mix.

      That being said, however, I feel like I connect so easily to very ancient cultures in various parts of the world. As I think you know, I believe that we are all interconnected, so my feeling of connection does not surprise me:>)
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        Jul 18 2013: Dear Colleen,

        Lately I have been more participative in what concerns commenting talks and conversations. Thank you for the complement, likewise I always even when not commenting follow yours on different talks.

        On other level which I think is not what Kate intends this conversation to go at, I agree with you. I do also believe on a common ground and good between every religion, culture or nationality: Earth.

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